Frozen Treats to Beat the Desert Heat
Las Vegas boasts a sweet selection of ice cream offerings.
BY CLAIRE WHITE
No two ways about it: summer in Las Vegas is brutal. Every Nevadan has little tips and tricks for staying cool during the hot summer months, but one of the tastiest ways to beat the heat is definitely with a frozen treat. In recent years, many southern Nevadans have begun to embrace different diets from organic to dairy-free, and the traditional ice cream parlor has needed to adapt with the times. With the “stay-at-home” directive put in place by Governor Steve Sisolak in March, many food service establishments had to make even more drastic changes in order to adhere to the directive and serve their customers. Here are three places in Las Vegas still serving frozen treats. From ice cream to frozen custard, sorbet to frozen yogurt, there is something for every palate.
Jonathan and Ashley Bradley love frozen yogurt. Before they started Spoon-a-Bowl, Jonathan says they used to visit another Henderson frozen yogurt shop too many times. The husband and wife duo met in college in Atlanta and came up with the idea for a frozen yogurt truck early in their relationship.
“We started with the name. We had an idea for ice cream or frozen yogurt,” Jonathan says. They moved to Las Vegas from Atlanta, and when Jonathan was laid off in 2017, they saw the opportunity to live their dream. As Ashley put it, “We sold our house and started our business.” The Bradley’s are excited to share their love of frozen desserts with the community. “We are a family-owned business. We love Las Vegas, and Henderson specifically has embraced us,” explains Jonathan.
In 2018, their food truck hit the road, and they began building a quality reputation. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, they had to make a few immediate changes. The majority of their business previously was generated at events and schools. Before UNLV transitioned to online-only instruction in March, they had been selling frozen desserts to students on campus Monday through Thursday. For the first 30 days of the stay-at-home order, they transitioned to contactless home deliveries. From pints of lemon, pineapple, and passionfruit frozen yogurt to root beer float packages, they were delivering smiles under their masks.
When Nevada began reopening in May, they started “Ice Cream Social Distancing” events at select locations around Henderson and the Las Vegas Valley. Ashley explains that it has been a fun opportunity to meet new customers out in the community.
“We know that people still want to have fun,” and their truck provides an excuse to get out of the house safely. This summer they plan to taper back on delivery and return to doing events when possible, but they will continue to host Ice Cream Social Distancing around town.
Made with no artificial preservatives or sweeteners, their frozen yogurt is sweetened with honey and stevia and their ice cream uses raw sugar. Along with locally sourced dairy products and organic ingredients, their delicious treats are about as guilt free as possible. Some of their summer flavors that are sure to delight include peach frozen yogurt and cookies & cream. They also offer dairy-free options.
Various locations, Las Vegas
PARADISE CITY CREAMERY
Founder Valerie Stunning started Paradise City Creamery because she was tired of the types of ice cream that were available in the world. She cannot eat gluten or dairy, and she was looking for something that would satisfy her own tastes. Before starting Paradise City, she worked as a stripper and spent time in the restaurant industry. Both of these former careers are evident in the decadent experience of tasting Paradise City ice cream, which is 100-percent plant based and gluten free. Cones are crafted similarly to a craft cocktail: an ice cream flavor is paired with a specific cone and a unique topping, from hot pink sprinkles to candy-coated cherries. Valerie summed up the aesthetic as, “glitter-fying everything.”
Valerie fashioned the company as high-end ice cream cart meets event business. “With my background, I knew that I wanted to mix a lot of that sexiness into the experience,” Valerie explains.
When asked what she would want customers to know about her vision, Valerie reiterated her mission statement: “With each scoop we aim to be the pleasure we wish to see in the world.” Valerie is an activist for diverse communities.
This summer, Paradise City Creamery is scaling back its events, but is still working to fulfill customers’ desires. When the pandemic started to unfold, Valerie began thinking about how to scoop craft cocktail-style ice cream in a social-distanced setting. She had to ask herself: “How will it translate? How am I going to get the vision across?” She realized that she could put the same details into pints, and the cart is now selling to-go pints and cones.
To keep the experience fresh, Paradise City offers a seasonal menu. Each season they serve four flavors with sumptuous ingredients.
Paradise City Creamery
Located at Garagiste Wine & Merchant
Friday and Saturday evenings
197 E. California Ave., Unit 140
Las Vegas, NV 89104
LUV-IT FROZEN CUSTARD
Since 1973, Luv-It Frozen Custard has served sundaes, cones, shakes, and hard-packed custard to go. Dorothy Woods opened the walk-up shop in winter 1973 selling sandwiches, chili, and custard. Woods had worked at Leon’s—a famous frozen custard spot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin—before moving to Las Vegas. Frozen custard differs from ice cream thanks to one key ingredient: egg yolks. In addition, there is no air whipped into frozen custard, which leads to a heavier, creamier consistency. Frozen custard is decadent and filling.
According to Brandon Tiedemann, fourth-generation owner and Woods’ great grandson, the restaurant quickly decided to focus exclusively on frozen custard, “because it took so long to make the other stuff.” The abbreviated menu allowed the small shop to focus on its unique offering in Las Vegas, a choice that continues to pay off to this day. Brandon now owns the shop along with his mother Sharon and his sister Brittany.
During the state’s “stay-at-home” order, Luv-It stayed busy. Brandon said some days the shop was twice as busy as usual, explaining that “there were a lot of people looking for something yummy, just looking around for something to do.” The Tiedemann family prepared for the pandemic and the lack of sit-down customers by packing more quarts to go and coordinating with online home delivery services including ChowNow, Postmates, and GrubHub. But the best way to order Luv-It frozen custard is the same as it has been for 47 years: using the walk-up window.
Each day, Luv-It serves a daily selection of two specialty flavors as well as vanilla and chocolate. The daily flavors of the month can be found on their website. Brandon said some of the most popular flavors are fresh banana nut, lemon, rocky road, mint chocolate chip, and cookies & cream. He personally loves the Western Sundae, which features hot fudge, caramel, and pecans, but he likes to customize it with extra pecans and the hot toppings on top—a modification he said customers can ask for when they visit the window. For those who prefer a dairy-free alternative, Luv-It also serves pineapple Dole Whip.